Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights: An Indian Perspective

36 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2011

See all articles by Anu Bala

Anu Bala

TIFAC- Department of Science & Technology

Date Written: November 1, 2011


Traditional knowledge is based on the experience of indigenous people and has developed over time. Most often it is transmitted from generation to generation as oral knowledge and this is the weak point which makes traditional knowledge (TK) susceptible to misappropriation. TK provides valuable leads which save time and investment in research and development sector. Therefore transnational corporations exploit biological resources and associated knowledge. Indigenous people nurture these resources and develop traditional knowledge but they did not get any recognition or share of benefit from multinational corporations. This results in many cases of biopiracy in India as well as in other countries. Various strategies have been adopted to protect TK through positive and defensive protection. An efficient effort taken by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Government of India to document TK in TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library) has proved boon in protection of TK. Biopirates use Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as tool to steal traditional knowledge and exploit biological resources and this happens because of some limitations in IPR system. Therefore it is required to introduce some sui-generis elements in the existing IPR system.

Keywords: TKDL, Biopiracy, Positive protection, Defensive Protection

Suggested Citation

Bala, Anu, Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights: An Indian Perspective (November 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Anu Bala (Contact Author)

TIFAC- Department of Science & Technology ( email )

New Delhi

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